Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Revolutions aren’t always political, social, or cultural. Sometimes the way we do things and the processes for accomplishing tasks are done the same way until someone comes along and revolutionizes it. Sarah Breedlove Walker, better known as Madame C. J. Walker, created a cosmetic empire by inventing a system of hair straightening. This was an important development because for generations before her revolutionary process, blacks had straightened hair on ironing boards, which endangered the scalp and face and broke the hair. She was both an inventor and an entrepreneur; she opened a shop, trained assistants, and opened a beauty school.

Eventually, she moved the operation to Indianapolis and built her first factory. By 1917, Walker employed 3,000 workers in America’s largest black-owned business and was profiting from sales of equipment and supplies and from her chain of beauty schools.

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker was written by A’Lelia Bundles. Bundles, a journalist and great-great-granddaughter of Madam C.J. Walker, offers a lively portrait of an American businesswoman. Walker, the first freeborn child of slaves, rose from poverty to establish a successful hair-care business, became one of the wealthiest women in the U.S., and devoted herself to a life of activism and philanthropy toward race and women’s issues.

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